EL PASO, Texas - A quarter through his first season as UTEP's head men's basketball coach Joe Golding doesn't regret anything with his team, only with results.
"I hate losing. You know, I'm a competitor, any competitor doesn't like to lose," says Golding, who's Miners have begun the season 4-3. "So we've lost three games and two at home. And so that's something that's got to stop."
And while UTEP is barely above the .500 mark as December 7th, it will be much tougher to remain above it after this week.
The Miners take on the nationally ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night in Kansas City as 18-point underdogs. #8 Kansas already holds double-digit wins over Michigan State and St. John's, and boasts an offense averaging 85 points per contest.
"They got a team that can win a national championship," says Golding of the Jayhawks. "Anytime you play a high level team like this, you know that's a top team in the country, your backs against the wall and we've got nothing to lose."
Golding is no stranger to playing up to competition as a coach. Last season, Golding's Abilene Christian team knocked off 3rd-seeded Texas in the NCAA Tournament and played competitive regular season games at eventual tournament teams Texas Tech and Arkansas.
"You gotta be able to get stops and you got to rebound the basketball," says Golding of an upset formula. "And obviously Kansas is very good offensively. I think they're moving the ball right now as good as any college basketball team I've seen in a long time, the ball never sticks."
Following Tuesday night's game in Kansas City, the Miners will stay on the road for a Sunday afternoon game at New Mexico in Albuquerque.
ABC-7 will provide live coverage from the Pit on Sunday afternoon.
The Lobos (5-4) are coming off two emotional games against New Mexico State in which each team won on the opposing's home floor. Guards Jamal Mashburn Jr. (21.0) and Jaelen House (18.8) lead the Lobos in scoring.
This all comes for UTEP after an emotional game of their own in which they lost 71-68 to New Mexico State last Friday at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners overcame a late seven-point deficit, before eventually losing on a Jabari Rice three-pointer with 1.6 seconds to play.
But even in a loss, the Miners' fighting spirit endeared itself.
"The efforts been there. And you know, and we're getting better and more consistent with what we got," added Golding of the effort. "We got to continue to increase our depth and play more guys. We can play hard for 40 minutes, but we're doing some really good things with the effort and the hustle."
Souley Boum paced the Miners with 19 in the loss to NMSU, but freshman forward Jamari Sibley provided a scoring boost with 18 points.
If Sibley can consistently give the Miners another scoring option, the growth of the team could be exponentially expedited.
In two challenging road tests ahead, points are going to be at a premium for UTEP.
"You got to figure out a way to score. It sounds simple in context, but it's very, very challenging to do."
Catch Nate Ryan''s full one-on-one interview with Coach Golding in the "UTEP Men's Basketball Coaches Show" in the attached clip.